Reunion Chapter 20
By Janet Monstwillo
Lia looked up as she put down the PHS. "That was Legolas. He's coming back with Ishmael and Aeris."
"What the--" Barret looked at her. "I thought he was going for help, not more baby-sitting charges!"
"All the others will be coming. Except Reeve and Reno, they're needed in Junon. And Raieyana."
"What about Raieyana?" asked Cid.
Lia looked down. "I guess someone from Shinra tried to kidnap her. Vincent's hiding her with Lucrecia until we can solve that problem."
"Those damn Shinra," muttered Barret.
"Wait a minute," said Red XIII, "isn't Reno with the Turks?"
"I don't know, we'll have to ask Vincent or someone to explain it. It's not like Legolas tried to or anything."
"Hey Lia," said Cid, "isn't Cloud off somewhere acting loony or somethin'? Is he coming, too?"
She shrugged. "Yeah, but I don't know whether or not he still isn't loony. We'll just have to wait until they come."
Red XIII looked at her. "When are they coming, Lia?"
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Vincent looked around the room. (We're together, but missing so much. Ruther, Reeve, Raieyana.) "She's in Lucrecia's cave. Raieyana has a PHS. Someone has to stay here on call 24-7 so she can get a hold of us. If she gets sick, we're her only hope. The rest of us need to try and destroy this Amber Weapon."
"What can we do? We just gotta fight the damn mother," said Cid.
"There's more at stake here. What about the Reunion?" asked Cloud.
"Didn't that happen already? I mean, I'm not the most observant person in the world," said Yuffie, "but I definitely remember some little get-together Hojo called the 'Jenova Reunion.' What do we have to fear about this thing of the past?"
Tifa shook her head. "Something must have happened to trigger all this 'reunion' talk again. Something triggered another Reunion."
Barret leaped to his feet. "Y'all know it was the fucking Shinra. I say we bomb Edinborough tonight! You'd be a foo' not to!"
"No," said Legolas, "we have to be discreet. If we move too fast, we won't know what they did. And then we'll be powerless to stop it."
"I agree," said Vincent, "we can't move in haste. Our anger will cause us to be reckless. We must wait for a sign, perhaps wait even for the Reunion itself. Or wait until the sick Soldiers move."
"What?" said Tifa.
"When the time comes, they will head for the Reunion, just like the Sephiroth clones. Maybe even some of us will have the urge."
"Don't worry about it," said Cloud, "I'm stronger this time."
"I'm not just worried about you, Cloud," said Vincent, "if this affects the Soldiers, there are few of us that it doesn't affect. This is going to be bigger than the first Reunion."
"And," said Red XIII, speaking for the first time, "I think it has a clearer purpose. The first Reunion gathered to set Sephiroth's plans in motion. His decisions were marred by the deception of Jenova. This Reunion is for Jenova's purpose. It affects the Soldiers because this time, the summoning isn't being done by Sephiroth. It's being done by Jenova."
"What's the purpose, then?" asked Lia.
"I'm not certain. But I've read some books that were left behind by Professor Gast when he came to Cosmo Canyon. I've learned a few more things from Ancient legend. I've been trying to piece them together."
"So what's the puzzle look like now?" said Tifa.
Red XIII sighed. "It's complicated. Jenova fell from the sky. She was an alien and carried alien microbes with her. The Ancients had a nomadic lifestyle, and on the average, were rather weak. They easily succumbed to the foreign diseases. They had not developed antibodies to a disease from another planet. Your race, modern man, along with a few Cetra exiles, hid from Jenova. Jenova was enraged at having become an outcast so she lashed out and killed any Cetra she could find. The very few Cetra that were left succeeded in burying her in an avalanche and thought their problem solved. That was 5000 years ago. The Ancients slowly died out until Ifalna was the only one left."
Vincent shrugged. "Although this is interesting, it hardly explains why--"
"Vincent, I'm not finished."
He sighed. "Continue, Red."
"Gast thought Jenova was an Ancient at first, and so eventually it was Sephiroth who believed that he himself was an Ancient. He hated the new race. Your race."
"But he killed Aeris," said Cloud softly.
"She had rekindled the old grudge. In a way, Jenova didn't care who she killed. I suppose being frozen for 5000 years could do that to you. Jenova has to be the link. Many things, from Turks to mutant wolves have tried to attack Raieyana--Aeris' daughter. The one thing they have in common--enhancement with both Mako and Jenova. I believe Mako enhances Jenova cell multiplication. Each subsequent showering leads to the growth of Jenova's hold on a person--or a monster, as the case may be. If there is another Jenova Reunion, Raieyana--and her children--probably have little chance of survival."
"Shit," said Barret, "this is worse than reactors. Shinra had no idea what the hell they were doing."
"They should've stuck to terrorism and burning down cities," said Yuffie.
"But, they unwittingly hit something," said Red XIII. "The Jenova/Mako combination is like an intensely risky live inoculation."
Cid gave him a strange look. "Say what?"
"This treatment is a vaccine against weakness with heinous side effects."
Barret snorted. "Heinous? Man, you livin' in the past!"
Red XIII ignored him. "The Jenova can cause physical and mental breakdown. But the individuals that withstand it have phenomenal strength--even if they end up slightly crazy. You could say that it is the ultimate price for the knowledge of strength. The Jenova gives the power and it can take it away. Fight it, and you could lose everything. If you don't, it will kill you eventually anyway."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"Reno, welcome back!"
Reno smiled and nodded at the small group of people who had gathered around the door for his arrival back at Alcor. "Hey, is this a company or the 'Welcome Wagon?' Get your asses in gear, folks, if you want to be better than the Shinra!" He glanced at Reeve. "Man, you let everything go to hell while I was gone, didn't you, buddy?"
Reeve glared at him. "As a matter of fact, for once I was able to get some work done. Except for the period of time Ray was missing, but I can hardly be blamed for that."
"So, where's my office?"
"You don't have one."
He raised an eyebrow. "What the hell? You said--"
Reeve grinned. "Next week main operations are moving back to the old building. Your office has been remodeled. No signs of the fire whatsoever. But you don't have an office here, so deal."
"For a second I thought Reeve Jordan was actually holding a grudge against somebody."
He shook his head. "Only two people on this planet do I hold a grudge against. One is Cloud Strife. The other..."
Lavana stepped in their path. "I see the company asshole has dragged his sorry butt back."
Reno nodded. "And I see the company whore has not gone out of business."
"You're wrong. I guess you haven't heard. I'm leaving. I have bigger and better things to be doing."
"What, you've exhausted the supply of horny men in this company? I must have missed the going-out-of-business sale!"
She snickered. "There is no amount you could pay me to make me fuck you!"
"Shut up Lavs. You'd do the dog in the alley if you thought I'd pay you a nickel."
"Jack, I really wished you hadn't told me that. Now you've messed up my innocent little mind by telling me what turns you on."
"That's one point I agree with you on. Your mind sure is little."
She shook her head and turned to Reeve. "Only three more days... If you don't hurry up, you'll miss your chance, Reeve. You name the time, the place--I'll be there." She leaned into his ear and whispered loudly, "I'd get on all fours for you, Reeve." She sauntered away, with a self-satisfied smirk.
"She definitely makes me want to get on all fours," said Reno, "so I can say hello to the toilet bowl without getting anything on my favorite tie!"
"She has completely overstepped her boundaries with that one."
"She's not even that attractive. She has little going for her. She's easy. That's it. Her breasts aren't even that big. Compared to--"
Reeve bristled. "Compared to who?"
"Just say it."
"What do you think I was gonna say?" Reno asked.
"Reeve, you can't let it get to you."
"I'm sorry, I can't help it. Maybe it's easier for you because you don't give a damn."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean? I'm not sitting here saying shit like that about you."
Reeve looked him in the eye. "Stop pretending that you care about her."
"If this is pretend, I hope I never feel the real thing."
"It's not all it's cracked up to be."
"Look, Reeve, this whole mess started out and I thought it was a one-way street. I decided then that I was going to have to learn how to accept it. Well, you've gotta accept it, okay? I'm in love with her."
"So am I, Reno."
"I know that. But she didn't make me love her, and I didn't make me love her. There isn't anything to place the blame on. So the only thing you can do is accept it. Or let it eat you alive."
"Damn it, Reno. I want to be mad at you. I have to have anger at something, but I come up blank. It feels like I'm betraying myself not to throttle you right now."
"It wouldn't solve anything."
"Well, does it look like I'm throttling you? I know that's not the answer."
"So what is the answer?"
Reeve smiled sadly. "'E'...None of these."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Laida grabbed the bottle of aspirin from her desk drawer. She lifted her coffee cup and swallowed five at once. She touched her swollen lip. (I don't remember exactly what happened the other day, but I find it a little frightening. I wish I could talk to Lucas about this, but he's been acting so damn strange lately...)
The speaker phone on here desk rang. She pushed a button.
"Laida, it's Martin."
"What is it?"
"Elena Roberts is here to see you. You didn't tell me she had an appointment..."
"I called her yesterday and told her to come. Send her right on in."
She stretched her arms above her head and rolled her head around her shoulders. (I'm just so sore. What the hell happened to me?)
Elena walked into Laida's office. "You wanted to see me?"
"That's right." She motioned to a chair. "Sit down."
"Well, what is it?"
Laida sighed. "Since Dr. Shelding hired the Turks for Shinra, I feel it's my duty to inform you about your associate, Rude. His body was found in Gongaga. To be exact, in the basement of a house he owned. There was a sort-of holding-cell there. I was deeply saddened when I read it in the newspaper. Here's the article." She handed a newprint clipping to Elena.
She examined it closely. "Why, this is from several days ago!"
"Well, we sent Shinra investigators into the area immediately. This is probably the only copy of the article that wasn't destroyed. Bad press must be eliminated, you know. And our team there found out some intriguing information on the crime scene." She pulled out a report. "'The victim bled profusely from a gunshot wound in the shoulder before he was instantly killed with a bullet to the back of the head. The gun was found at the crime scene; it was registered to Rude.' See, Elena, there's weird stuff all around this case. He had a broken nose, and it seems someone had emptied a whole bottle of iodine--you know, disinfectant--onto his shoulder wound. Our workers checked the bottle for fingerprints. And so now we know, whatever happened there, Raieyana Amine was there and she got away."
"She couldn't have fought Rude off by herself," said Elena. "And what about Reno?"
"They found some of Reno's blood inside the holding cell. There was also some blood from a fourth, still yet unidentified person."
"You know our payment for getting the Amine girl was quite a hefty sum of money. If Reno had wanted the money for himself, they wouldn't have ended up at Rude's house. The Reno I know would have killed him in the copter as soon as they were alone."
Laida shrugged. "I just wanted to let you know that it's in your best financial interest to find out what went on there."
"What is wrong with you?" asked Elena. "Three of my colleagues died and one disappeared on that mission. I don't want anything to do with it anymore. Don't you realize that I may be the last living Turk?"
"So I plan to keep it that way. I quit this mission, I quit Shinra, have a nice life. Because of this company, a hell of a lot of good people have died. I am through with you." She stood up.
"Elena, where are you going to go?" asked Laida in a patronizing tone.
"I'm going to find Reno. And Raieyana Amine."
"Raieyana? I thought you were done with us."
"I'm going to find her to protect her from you. Shinra destroyed Tseng, and I'm not going to let them have his daughter as well. I can't believe I was too stupid before to see what I was doing." She flung the door open. "The Turks are now officially separate from Shinra."
"The Turks are nothing without Shinra."
"You've gotten mixed up, Laida," said Elena, "Shinra is nothing without the Turks."
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